According to the Police website, homes which have no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures.
Taking a few steps can help keep your home safe and reduce the chance of being burgled.
Here are a few tips, thanks to the police:
1) Always lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you’re just out in the garden, remembering to double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn key). Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox (remember a device could be used to hook keys through the letterbox)
2) Install a visual burglar alarm
3) Install good outside lighting. Lighting is very helpful
4) Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property whether you’re at home or not. You should do the same, and look out for their property.
5) If you’re going on holiday, leave radios or lights in your house on a timer to make the property appear occupied
6) Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition
7) Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage
8) Keep ladders and tools stored away; don’t leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home
9) Ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property
10) Ensure rear fencing is in good repair
11) Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property i.e. trim high hedges
12) Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme
13) Remove valuables from view of ground floor windows. Store any high value items such as jewellery, passports etc in a properly secured safe or bank vault
In most burglaries, the criminals broke into the house or flat through the door, either by forcing the lock or kicking it in. Make sure your doors are strong and secure. Consider fitting a bar for extra strength; a locksmith can advise you on how best to do it.
If you have UPVC doors with standard locks, look at upgrading the locks to ABS locks. Click here to find out more about ABS locks.
Glass panels on doors are particularly vulnerable. If you have one on your door you could replace it with laminated glass, which is stronger. You can also buy a film in a DIY store that you can stick over the glass to make it harder to break.
Home security and DIY shops sell inexpensive, key-operated locks to fit most kinds of windows. Fit window locks with keys to all downstairs windows and those upstairs that are easy to reach.
Who is at the door?
If you’re not sure who is at your door, don’t open it. Check the identity of the caller by calling the company they are claiming to be from i.e. gas, electricity, water and police. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider – Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller – they may be bogus. The ‘Waterboard’ no longer exists, it is an obsolete phrase used only by bogus callers.
Going away on holiday?
Make your home look like someone is living in it:
1) Use automatic timer-switches to turn your lights and radios on when it goes dark
2) Cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries
3) Use the Royal Mail’s ‘keepsafe’ service – they keep your mail for up to 2 months while you’re away. Mail sitting on your doorstep is a sign that you are away
4) Trusted neighbours may be able to help you by collecting your post, opening and closing curtains and they could park their car on your driveway
5) Avoid discussing holiday plans on public social networking sites – burglars can use any information you post on there to their advantage